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Two complementary technologies developed by Lawrence Livermore are being used to clean up contaminated groundwater and soil at a utility pole treating facility in Visalia, California, in 5 years instead of a planned 120 years. Southern California Edison, the site's owner, and SteamTech, the first site licensee of Livermore's dynamic underground stripping, began cleanup in June 1997. Livermore is also field testing hydrous pyrolysis/oxidation, a new technique for destroying contaminants in situ. By injecting steam and oxygen and vacuuming out vaporized contaminants, about 300,000 pounds of contaminants were either brought to the surface or destroyed in situ during the first six weeks of operation. That figure contrasts sharply with the 10 pounds per week that Southern California Edison had been removing with conventional cleanup methods. Electrical resistance tomography (another Livermore development), noble-gas tracers, and analyses of extracted gases are being used to monitor steam injection, underground temperatures, fluid movement, and in situ destruction of contaminants.
For over 20 years, the Methods Development Group, consisting of computational specialists in the Laboratory's Engineering Directorate, has been expanding the computer modeling technology base to develop tools needed for analyzing complex, nonlinear material phenomena. The advanced computer codes developed by this group support the highly specialized research needs of Lawrence Livermore scientists. As the codes are continually enhanced to keep pace with the Laboratory's scientific advances, their application range has widened. The article describes some current problems that DYNA3D, NIKE3D, and TOPAZ3D-the predominant methods development codes-are being used to solve.
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